5 Vegas Relic

Reviews16 Comments on 5 Vegas Relic

5 Vegas Relic

If you’ve been paying attention to cigar trends, you’ve probably noticed there have been quite a few. For years, large ring gauges were the name of the game. And then it seemed like everyone was introducing their popular lines in the lancero format. Even more recently, we’ve seen a sudden increase in large figurados and salomon cigars.

But the trend I’m thinking about, the one that’s relevant to this particular cigar review doesn’t have to do with size or shape of the cigar. (Though the thoughtful reader will no doubt see a connection between the 5 Vegas Relic’s shape and the recent large figurado trend.) I’m referring to the fact that 5 Vegas Relic is a puro. But more than that, a puro from a country that isn’t well known for producing them: The Dominican Republic. But Dominican puros are a lot more common than you might expect. In fact, the Mi Dominicana By Jose Seijas I reviewed earlier this month is also one. And then there’s the La Aurora Cien Anos, the Cohiba Puro Dominicana, the Lito Gomez Diez, and, of course the Opus X to name a few.

But back to the 5 Vegas Relic. There’s not a lot of background to divulge about this recent addition to the 5 Vegas brand. The Relic’s only vitola, a perfecto, comes in boxes of 24 and is wrapped in a leaf that is reportedly “a special strand of Cuban-seed” tobacco grown exclusively for Manuel Quesada, of recent Casa Magna fame. Additionally it contains a single 12-year old leaf Dominican Piloto leaf in the filler. So now it’s time to see if the Relic is a worthy effort, or the merely an attempt to cash in on the trends.

Cigar Stats:
Size: 5.7 x 54
Wrapper: Dominican Corojo
Binder: Dominican Piloto
Filler: Dominican ’96 Piloto, Corojo, Criollo
Smoking Time: 1 3/4 hours
Beverage: Water
Price: MSRP $5.25

The Pre-Smoke
I have to admit to being a little pleased with myself. When I slid the first Relic out of it’s cellophane and laid eyes on the oily, toothy wrapper, I thought to myself it looked a bit like the Matasa 30th and the Casa Magna. And in doing my research, I see that I totally nailed it. I should mention that the 5 Vegas Relic is considerably less attractive than either of those other cigars.

Ordinarily a perfecto is a graceful and attractive vitola. That is not the case here. The 5 Vegas Relic is mottled, lumpy and often noticeably lopsided. The veins are thicker and occasionally twisted, looking very much like a flattened spring. (An effect that is often seen in Cuban cigars.) A quick look at the band with it’s worn bronze look and menacing red lettering spelling out “Relic” tells you that this isn’t supposed to be an attractive cigar. It’s supposed to be a beast. Another interesting quirk to this cigar is that the head is not tapered like the foot, it’s actually triple-capped like a non-figurado stick.

The scent of the wrapper was a savory barnyard aroma. And since the cigar has a closed foot, I didn’t get much out of my attempt to take a cold taste except some neck strain. (I kid, I didn’t try.) Some people clip the closed foot of a perfecto before lighting, I generally don’t. I figure if you don’t clip off a shaggy or “unfinished” foot (I’ve been tempted), why would you clip the foot of a perfecto?

The Burn
The 5 Vegas Relic didn’t get any more attractive as it slowly became ash. The solid ash it produced was dark gray in color, and at it’s best the burn line was slightly wavy. It seems that my decision not to clip the foot may have been ill advised. The first third seemed to be the worst burning part of the cigar, both in terms of draw, evenness of burn and tendency to go out. But, unless I cut pretty deeply into the stick (like the whole first third), there was no escaping a little trouble.

The good news is that just a little before the the cigar entered the second third things seemed to improve. (Or in some cases after a re-light.) Each puff started to produce a better volume of smoke and the burn line became significantly less erratic. And like I said, the ash was pretty strong. This stick might be a good candidate for a long ash competition.

The Flavor
It all started with a nice combination of roasted nuts and creamy coffee. Well it did for most of them. One stick had a little Windex thing going on there too, which had me kind of worried. Fortunately, it was literally only there for one puff. It wasn’t long before the cigar took on a savory, creamy coffee flavor that had a slightly oily mouth feel. From time to time there were a few syrupy notes. Just before the second third, the coffee was replaced by a velvety cinnamon flavor, again with pockets of sweetness.

The second third saw a brief reemergence of the creamy coffee and some chocolate notes early on that were replaced by buttery earth with more of that cinnamon and occasionally, leather. As with the prior third, the cinnamon seemed to take over in the end.

There didn’t seem to be much of a change in the final third. Perhaps a little more body and a little bit of spice added to the mix, but the flavor elements and combinations of the prior third made reappearances here as well.

The Price
I try to always quote the MSRP in my reviews, but in this case, it’s a little misleading. The 5 Vegas Relic is only sold at Cigars International (and other sites under the same ownership) and none of them sell the sticks for more than $4.17, provided you buy a box. ($4.70 for a fiver.) But pick whichever price you want, there’s nothing to complain about here.

The Verdict
The 5 Vegas Relic is an interesting cigar. I say that, because even after smoking all of these sticks, I’m a loss to really put a verdict on it. I didn’t love it or hate it. The burn issues the cigar had weren’t as off-putting as they might seem, but the flavors weren’t as good as they sound either. (That is, if buttery earth sounds good to you.) If anything the cigar often tasted “unusual” to me, and I was generally tired of being “interested” by the end of the second third. Perhaps Nick from the Stogie Review forum puts it best when he says “it’s brown, it burns.”

Liked It: It’s brown, it burns.
Buy It Again: Probably not
Recommend It: To the curious- it’s inexpensive, and it’s interesting

Tower of Burn
Here for your viewing pleasure is my trademark Tower of Burn.




enjoying cigars since 1997

16 thoughts on “5 Vegas Relic

  1. Nice review, Brian. I’ve only smoked 2 of these, and have to say that my verdict is the same is you…dunno. I didn’t love it, didn’t hate it. I guess I’d say I found the flavor profile kind of weird, but for those who are looking for something a bit different, this might be a winner. I’ll try more after they rest a bit and see what I think then.

  2. I have a couple of these sticks resting in my humidor right now and hoped for a verdict one way or another on this cigar. While “buttery earth” does not sound all that appealing to me coffee and chocolate notes are good. Anyways, thanks for the review.

  3. Thanks for the review. I’ve been holding off on this cigar and it looks like I’ll hold a little longer. There hasn’t been a 5 Vegas cigar that’s really been great in my eyes. And thanks for keeping up the written review format.

  4. Good review Brian and I think the one I smoked was a tad heavier on the Windex heh. Actually, it tared up so had to do a little clipping. But that left a nasty taste that I didn’t easily get rid of so the cigar was not so good.

    But I do have 4 others and I’m hoping to get to the undecided level at a minimum hah.

  5. I saw Walt’s first impression on these as well…doesn’t sound like many people care too much for these. I’m one of them 🙂

  6. Was interested in the Relic – not so sure now. The best 5 Vegas cigar, in my opinion, is the Serie A – definitely worth a try.

  7. Seems like the relic is a sexy passing fad. It’s like picking up a sexy girl in the bar only to find out when you wake up the next morning that the lighting in the bar was really really bad and you must have been really really drunk. Or like waking up 10 years after being married…well you guys get the picture.

  8. Like CWS I like the 5 Vegas Series A by far the best of any of the three or four different ones I’ve tried. It’s noticeably better and a darn good stick. The Relic isn’t going to change that. For me the most predominant thing I noticed was a nicotene burn like sensation on my tongue which did not help in the flavor department as it obscurred some of the taste otherwise. As for the burn itself, I did not touch it up, but it burned a fair bit unevenly and could have benefitted by a correction or two. This cigar needs a little tweaking I’d say and as it stands now I would only recommend it because it’s different and not a “me-too” type stick. Try it, it’s not a bad stick, and you may really like it, but I must say it needs tweaking.

  9. After having just come off one of the most enjoyable new cigar experiences in my life as I discovered 5 Vegas’s Cask Strength, I was really looking forward to the Relic. All I can add to the review above is; the nicest thing about this cigar is the cool box it came in. “Smoking dirt” is pretty close to the flavor I experienced from my first one. These will definitely get aged in my humidor for a while, but I’ll most likely have to lose a bet of some kind to smoke the other 23…

  10. I just finished the only one that i bought along with a 5 vegas sampler. I totally agree with you Brian, the first 3rd the stick didn´t burn right, after that, the burn improved but it wasn´t perfect. Wouldn´t buy it again, like njstone said didn´t love didn´t hate it, or like we say in MĂ©xico “nada del otro mundo”.
    Kind of like seeing a girl that catches your attention (and I said catches your attention not a pretty or gorgeous girl) and after talking a while with her you get bored or dissapointed….

  11. Update to my earlier post:

    I called CI and complained about these cigars. At their suggestion, I laid these down in my humidor for a couple of months (they offered me a full refund as an alternative). The rep I talked to suggested that they may have been “over-humidified” and may need to rest for a while.

    They have definitely mellowed and are an enjoyable smoke now. Can’t believe how much the character has changed with some aging, but they are actually pleasant to smoke now and burn better than the first two I tried. Plenty of flavor and no more unpleasant earthy aftertaste.

    Another trick I learned while reading online was to “dry box” these for at least 12 hours before smoking. I use an empty cedar cigar box to store them in the day before I intend to smoke them.

    Not sure I’ll buy them again, but I am enjoying them now.

    1. Hi Eric, I’m glad it worked out for you. Cigars love stability. There is a danger to smoking cigars right off the truck, and even the best cigars may have some issues due to the inconsistencies of the environment during shipping.

      On the other hand, I’m not a fan of buying cigars that aren’t ready to smoke right away. I usually give anything that arrives through the mail a few weeks of rest, but after that, it should be ready to go.

      Yeah, I hear people taking about dry-boxing, and have tried it a time or two. It really is a roll of the dice as to whether it will solve problems or create them, because you’re creating environmental inconsistencies. I’d far rather store the cigars at a slightly lower humidity and avoid the need for the empty cedar box. Also, that requires you to know 12 hours ahead of time what you’ll be smoking and where, which can also be a problem.

  12. Wow, I pulled out mine before work this morning ;). Let it sit for a bit..It still started with the uneven burn, but the buttery coffee nut flavor made it very enjoyable for me..Still tasting the oils in my mouth. Nice mild/med cigar..I love them 94+ in my book..Nice evening smoke..

  13. I have not tried the Relic Perfecto yet. I have a couple of bids working right now that I (but not the wife) am hoping come through for me. I see people fairly often comment that the 5 Vegas Series are not their favorite sticks for one reason or another. Personally I really like them, I know they are not the best out there but for my humble Government Teacher / Football Coach budget they are just fine. Been my “go to stick” for a couple of years now and the consistency of the brand has been really good for my taste and budget. Best thing about Cigars is that they are just like BBQ, as long as the person who is consuming them is happy that is all that matters,

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